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Louisiana Tech knocks off rival Southern Miss, remains perfect in C-USA

The Bulldogs picked up a massive win to put themselves in great position to win the West.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Florida Atlantic Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs ended their four-game losing streak to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles to claim first place in C-USA West, winning 45-30.

After a tightly contested first three quarters, the Bulldogs outscored USM 21-3 in the fourth quarter to take the lead and put the game away.

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Louisiana Tech Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Tech’s defense was a massive part of the win. Amik Robertson had an incredible three interceptions, including the pick that sealed the win.

However, it was Ezekiel Barnett who broke the Eagles’ hearts. With Southern Miss down by just one possession, he intercepted a pass from Jack Abraham and ran it back for the dagger touchdown.

While the USM offense scored 30 points, the Eagles only managed two offensive touchdowns to go with their one special teams score. The Tech defense was able to hold USM to field goals, which was another huge part of the result.

As expected, the Bulldogs had the better day rushing the ball. Justin Henderson outrushed USM by himself with 111 yards and two touchdowns. Bobby Holly and quarterback J’Mar Smith also contributed rushing scores.

USM quarterback Jack Abraham scored the Eagles’ only rushing score.

NCAA Football: Southern Mississippi at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of quarterbacks, while Abraham completed more passes than Smith attempted, he only managed two more yards. Both threw for one touchdown, but Smith only threw one interception to Abraham’s four. That was the difference.

Early on, it looked like the Golden Eagles would run away with it. De’Michael Harris returned the game’s opening kick for a touchdown, then Abraham found Ray Ladner on USM’s first drive to make it 14-0.

However, Tech fought back and tied the game. USM led 27-24 at halftime and didn’t trail in the first half. But after a scoreless third quarter, Tech took the lead early in the fourth and didn’t look back.

With the win, the Bulldogs are the last team in the West without a conference loss. However, there is still a long way to go. The Bulldogs still have to play both UAB and North Texas, who both sit at just one loss. Southern Miss isn’t out of it yet, either.

The final half of the season should be exciting in C-USA, and anything could happen. But for now, Tech seems to be the new favorite in the division.